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Inkluderar namnet: Bliss Broyard (Author)

Verk av Bliss Broyard

Associerade verk

The Best American Short Stories 1998 (1998) — Bidragsgivare — 406 exemplar
It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 71 exemplar


Allmänna fakta

Vedertaget namn
Broyard, Bliss
Broyard, Anatole (father)



Heard as audiobook quite a while ago & forgot to write a review then. It says something about the strength of Broyard's writing that it came to mind now, when I needed to remember "that book" about how a family, and a nation, discloses or not their racial heritage.
juniperSun | 7 andra recensioner | Jun 23, 2022 |
Author is definitely not up to the task. I know absolutely nothing about Anatole Broyard, but heard about this book by his daughter Bliss and how she and her brother found out about her heritage right before her father's death. But I thought it would be a fascinating story of race, genealogy, history, race relations and more in the US. Instead it's another book that's really a form of therapy for the author. Which is a real shame, because she can write--this book is just too ambitious for what it's trying to do.
The initial discovery of learning about her father's background and that he was passing for white felt a bit anti-climatic and drags Part I out for far too long. It's filled with the author's angst of finding out this information that somehow turned her world totally upside down without her ever really thinking the whole thing through. Throughout the book the author comes across as defensive: it may not have been intended that way but I genuinely didn't get the impression the author actually, truly thought everything through or bothered to dig deeper for her understanding. As other reviews say, it's as if the author thinks this is the only time in history has ever such a thing happened and she never moved on from the initial discovery.
Part II was much more interesting, as it's a tracing of history of her paternal line. We are then treated to a broader context of history in New Orleans which I did find interesting for awhile, except the author cannot resist the temptation to insert herself. Presumably to give context to the present day (relatively), it's obnoxious and I wanted her to stay out of the tale. The older history was more fascinating, but when she gets closer and closer to the modern era she seemed to pop up more and I wanted to shove her out of the narrative.
That said, I also think that the history itself needed an editor to hack away some of the historical details and to somehow integrate everything. The book wanted to be too many things at once and it would have been better if the two had been somehow integrated or if Bliss had written a separate book on JUST the discover of her father's background. I couldn't help but think of 'The Warmth of Other Suns' which is not quite on the same topic, but weaves the personal and historical a lot better.
It's a pity, because are parts and times where the author really shines in the writing and some of it is really interesting. But I can't help but be a bit shocked that the author apparently didn't benefit from the time of her father's death in 1990 to the publication of this book in 2007 to move forward in her emotional understanding. Her brother Todd seemed to handle the information more easily so I'm curious as to the story for why Bliss seemed unable/unwilling to work through her anxieties and issues around her father and this information.
Well, had my curiosity satisfied. This one's going back to the library. I would imagine this would be of interest to those who are interested in race/race relations/racism, Anatole Broyard, etc. I wouldn't rush out to read this one, library. There is a really great story here, but unfortunately it really did not come out here.
… (mer)
HoldMyBook | 7 andra recensioner | Feb 11, 2018 |
Catchy title, more about her search to find out more about her ancestry through her father. Ms. Broyard did a wonderful story in detailing her search and findings.
olumba72 | 7 andra recensioner | Oct 31, 2016 |
Anatole Broyard was the New York Times' daily book reviewer for quite a few years. He lived an upper middle class (though usually overextended) life, raising his and his wife's two children in Southport, Connecticut. Shortly before his death, his wife insisted that he tell their children his secret. They learned that his family background was not solely French, but Creole and of mixed race. By the "one drop" rule that had applied in some Southern states, he was black, and had been "passing for white" since his high school graduation. For Broyard's daughter, Bliss, this revelation explained a great deal about her father and his family, but raised many more questions. This book is her attempt to answer them.

Bliss spent many years researching her family history, seeking out relatives near and distant, and in the process learning a lot about black, and specifically Creole, history, and about the history of "passing" in America.

[book: One Drop] was fascinating, if a bit overlong, especially in the middle of the book, where I learned rather more about Reconstruction in Louisiana than I needed to understand the family's story. I can certainly sympathize with the author, being a genealogist and family historian myself; it's sometimes hard to draw the line between the historical background the reader needs in order to put the ancestors' stories into context, and an exhaustive treatment that would be better saved for an actual history text.

Anatole Broyard was a complex person to begin with, and his experience of "passing" probably increased that complexity. Although he obviously loved his children very much, his all but repudiation of his birth family affected them negatively. One of the saddest parts of the book was Bliss's feeling, mentioned more than once, that to her father, friends once chosen were to be loved unconditionally; but family members had to earn, and keep on earning, his love.
… (mer)
auntieknickers | 7 andra recensioner | Apr 3, 2013 |


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